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My First Meditation Retreat

It would be my first time on a Meditation Retreat. It would be the first time eating only vegetarian food for a whole two days. It would be my first time without mobile phone, without listening to music or reading before going to sleep. I was scared.

When I started getting closer to the Project, when I started going uphill and the network on my phone started to fade, when I looked around, while driving, and realized I was surrounded by nothing but nature, I started to think maybe it would be good. I love nature. It would be a good weekend. I just had to learn to relax, and worry about nothing. It would be a big challenge.

The first day, I woke up to the sound of the Gong, at about 7a.m. and went to my first meditation session. I was supposed to relax, to breathe and to worry about nothing. When you are in such a beautiful place it seems like an easy thing to do.
But it wasn't. I kept thinking about the past. About what I was going to do when I got home. What I had to buy in the supermarket. My mind was flooding me with thoughts and ideas and images and songs...It was unstoppable. From about my third session until the end of the day my mind kept saying to me "You should leave. You're wasting your weekend. You won't achieve anything here, just leave." And I got very frustrated.

But the end of the day, Peter took us to the valley, to meditate under the trees. And then and there I felt peaceful. I felt connected to the trees above me, to the earth beneath me, to the little bug climbing my leg. I felt one with all those elements. And my mind calmed down. I let go. I thought of nothing but how good it felt to be there in that place, doing what I was doing, feeling what I was feeling.

Then we did a session of Qi Gong. We moved around slowly. I imagined my good energy ball and my bad energy ball. I moved them around, with my eyes closed, bringing one closer to me and pushing the other one away. And by the time it was over I felt like a different person. I felt very light.

At night, after a delicious, vegetarian dinner (I never missed the meat in any meal by the way; the food was so tasty, so well-made I felt satisfied every time) we had a Q&A session and most of the answers Peter gave enlightened me. I felt ready for the next day.

It was a peaceful night of sleep and the next day it all went better. My mind could not control me anymore. It kept saying I couldn't do it, and I said "I don't care. I'm here now. I have nothing to worry about, nothing to do but relax, so you can keep on talking, I'll just ignore you and be here. And be happy".

By the end of the day, the silence vow was lifted and we could talk. I went to thank everybody who works on the farm for the delicious food they had made and all their effort and work, and I got to talk a little to the most free and open and sincere and lovable persons I have ever met.

Today is Tuesday. The weekend ended two days ago. I am back to my "normal" life. But I feel like I'm a different person. Or at least I'm looking at life differently. I have a new perspective. I've meditated in the morning these two days, and although it is not as easy as when you are in the middle of the nature, in complete silence, although you have motorcycles, and buses and cars speeding by down below, I try. I'll make it. It makes me feel peaceful, and a lot of situations that used to upset me in my everyday life, do not have such a big impact on me any more. "Don't make a problem out of it".

I really, truly want to thank everybody at the Project for everything, especially Peter, of course, for his guidance. You have a beautiful place, you did a great job and you are beautiful people. Thank you!

Rita Silvestre


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About the project

The Awakened Life Project is situated in a beautiful and wild ecological reserve in the mountains Central Portugal. We offer volunteer programs, courses, events and retreats to support the liberation of the human spirit in a context of evolutionary emergence and communion with the ecological web of life.


Quinta da Mizarela
3305-031 Benfeita
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